How Employers Can Promote Gender Equality In The Workplace

Companies with a more diverse leadership outperform their competitors. Here’s how to promote gender equality at work.
How Employers Can Promote Gender Equality In The Workplace
Olivia Doherty

When organisations treat their diverse employees with dignity and respect, everyone benefits.

We wrote a piece not so long ago about the Why for Diversity and Inclusion which revealed that companies with ethnically and culturally diverse leadership outperform their counterparts by 36%.

Companies with greater gender diversity outperform their peers by 48%.

Despite the clear benefits of inclusion with regard to profitability though, gender-based workplace discrimination remains rampant. In fact, data from Pew Research Center show that two out of five women have experienced sexism in the workplace.

This sexism materialises in forms of discrimination including wage inequality, isolation, microaggressions, unfair treatment, and harassment.

Needless to say, this kind of sexism in the workplace damages employee well-being and prevents women from performing their best.

Fortunately however, by adhering to the following tips, you can go a long way toward eliminating gender inequality in your company’s working environment.

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Create A Gender-Neutral Hiring Process

It’s important first and foremost to ensure that your hiring processes level the playing field for candidates of all genders.

That means eliminating gendered words in your job descriptions. Additionally, use second-person pronouns (such as you) rather than gendered third-person pronouns (he or she).

Statistics from Inc Magazine also show that the average woman will only apply for an opening when she meets 100% of the indicated qualifications.

By comparison, men will apply for openings even if they meet only 60% of the requirements.

Thus, if you fail to clearly indicate which qualifications are “preferred” versus those that are “required,” you may inadvertently discourage women from applying to your organisation.

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Provide Flexible Work Options

Many working women need to balance professional and family responsibilities.

Organisations that want to promote gender diversity need to offer work options that are flexible enough to accommodate working caregivers.

Flexible schedules and remote or hybrid work are a few examples of arrangements that can help women work without sacrificing family time.

Put Skilled Women In Leadership Roles

Arguably the best way to empower female employees is to actively put qualified women in leadership positions.

An article on the gender gap in the supply chain industry by LHH recommends building corporate development programs that can promote professional development for women.

This idea can be adopted across industries, and organisation leaders should also offer individual feedback that can help women build up their confidence.

In short, make sure women have a clear idea of how they can move forward within the organisation.

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Educate Employees

It’s also important to implement training programs to ensure that all employees can identify and eliminate prejudices, harassment, and sexist behaviour that exists in so many workplaces.

Among employees who have never experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, 71% claim to come from companies that offer effective gender sensitivity training programs, according to an Elephant in the Valley survey on workplace sexism.

Meanwhile, employees who do experience sexual harassment are also more likely to report incidents when they are confident that their companies can resolve cases efficiently.

Have A Clear Anti-Discrimination Policy

To ensure that employees have a way to report unacceptable behaviour in the workplace, it’s vital to implement clear policies on sexism and sexual harassment.

Make sure all employees understand rules against sexist behaviour, and enforce strict penalties for those who violate said rules.

Additionally, make all staff aware of where and how to file complaints related to sexism and sexual harassment, without fear of judgment or negative repercussions.

Every employee — regardless of gender identity, race, sexual orientation, or background — deserves to be treated with respect.

Making your workplace a safe environment for female employees can help you toward this goal, and ultimately promote a culture of equality and dignity in your organisation.